OLD COLONY RAIL TRAIL NORTH;
WW II VETERANS MEMORIAL TRAIL:
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: September 7, 2006
Length: Mansfield section; 1.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved trail.
To start from downtown Mansfield: Take exit 11 off of I-495 and travel north on South Main St. When you enter downtown on North Main St, look for Old Colony Rd on your right. A public parking lot is located here.
To start from Fruit Street parking lot; Take exit 11 off of I-495 and travel north on South Main St. Take your first right onto Hall St (green airport sign) and follow until it merges and become Fruit St. Follow Fruit St past the Mansfield Airport and spot the parking lot on your left.The Old Colony Rail Trail is a planned trail from Mansfield to Norton/Taunton along the former Old Colony Railroad bed. The completed section in Mansfield is called the WW II Veterans Memorial Trail. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers once rode the Old Colony RR from Camp Myles Standish in Taunton to Boston on their way to serve in WW II. Norton's section is currently in the design phase with planned construction in 2018.
The Old Colony Railroad was a major railroad system, mainly covering southeastern Massachusetts, USA. Old Colony trains ran from Boston to points such as Provincetown, the tip of Cape Cod, and Providence, Rhode Island via its Boston and Providence Railroad. The first railroad known as the Old Colony Railroad was incorporated April 13, 1838 to run from the end of the Taunton Branch Railroad - which ran from the Boston and Providence to Taunton - to New Bedford. This however was renamed as the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad on March 26, 1839, before construction began, and only became part of the Old Colony system in 1879, when the Old Colony leased the Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad into which it had been merged. The Taunton Branch Railroad was incorporated in 1835 as a branch of the Boston and Providence Railroad from Mansfield to Taunton. It was built from 1835 to 1836, and operated at first by the B&P. The New Bedford and Taunton Railroad was incorporated in 1838 at the Old Colony Railroad, changing its name in 1839 to the New Bedford and Taunton. Construction ran from 1839 into 1840, extending the line to New Bedford, at which time the Taunton Branch split from the B&P and ran concurrently with the NB&T.
Starting from the Fruit Street parking lot; The paved trail heads north from the parking lot. A map board is located here.
Note; The southern section, across the road, heads towards Norton. Norton's section is currently in the design phase with planned construction in 2018.
A stone-dust path parallels the paved trail. This is a straight trail with no turns and although wooded on both sides is wide open. White mileage markers are painted on the pavement in both directions. Continuing along the trail, an open field is now along your left side as you start to enter the town. The paved trail ends at 1.5 miles next to another signboard, but the trail continues straight utilizing parking lots and low volume Old Colony Rd. This brings you to downtown and Main St at 1.9 miles.
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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT